SKIMDO founder Kim Cowans, is of Russian and Jamaican descent, and was raised between London and Koh Samui.
"This is the long version. I imagined I was writing this to my little sister, who still has the natural hair journey from child-to-woman ahead of her, so here goes..
I was born with a full head of thick hair which was incredible! The downside was that my mother battled with it daily. Hours were spent in the bath getting knots out, manipulating the volume into disobedient plaits, and then she would receive discouraging letters from school to say my hair was 'too messy'.
Off I went school in the countryside, aged 10, where I was picked-on relentlessly for having 'horrible' hair, animatedly mocked for being 'frizzy' and called 'rough' by all the boys. It was soul destroying and lead me to daydream constantly, that I was one of the popular girls with the straight hair, the loads of mates and the boy. What really happened was that I ate loads of cake and turned myself into the class clown. Making people laugh turned out to be a currency that everyone accepted.
I finally went to a hairdresser for the first time, aged 17, for a blow-dry. I felt the familiar sense of shame as the junior stylists crowded around giving my stylist sympathising looks. Once it was done, though, I loved my long shiny hair but I turned into a diva overnight. I wouldn't go anywhere that sounded too crowded (humidity, drunk people spilling drinks), too outdoorsy (rain, wind) or stay overnight elsewhere (without access to all my serumy products and GHD). It was anti-social and unrealistic. Also, straight hair just didn't suit my features at all..
During a spontaneous trip to Brazil, right before A level finals, I witnessed all colours and sizes of confident women, proudly celebrating what they were born with. I saw my hair type everywhere. Sunkissed, big, free and effortless, on the heads of golden, electric beauties in tiny bikini's dancing on the beach. I promptly went to the local Supermarcado and investigated all the curly hair products, wanting feverishly to adopt the attitude of these incredible women. It wasn't clear right away, but what was happening was that I wanted to be myself, for the very first time.
Back in London, I went back to wearing my hair naturally, becoming addicted to buying anything and everything that said it was for thick, dull, frizzy, dry hair. None of it would truly work, and in the years before YouTube and vloggers, I found that there were no precise instructions to help me achieve what I could see on the ad. For the next 8 years I would make-do, constantly thinking 'meh' after using between 4 & 8 products every morning on my wet hair.
In 2010, fired up with anger at my redundancy from a job in architecture, I decided to embark on a ridiculously ambitious project. I wanted to create the best CURLY hair styling product in the world. LOL. It needed to make the curls soft, yet hold flexibly for a week. It had to make them shiny, smell fresh and combine the elements of what I loved about straight hair (swish, swing, light reflective), with the distinctive characteristics of curly hair (volume, ringlets, complexity). Safety was essential (no parabens, sulphates or formaldehyde) and future proofing the formula was key (no 'buzz' ingredients du jour). The packaging had to be positive, ergonomic and timeless. I certainly didn't want the words 'frizzy' and 'dull' anywhere near my packaging. I was about to start a brand, and there was no way it wasn't going to be cool.
I hired a small team of chemists and a lab, and was very fortunate to work closely with heavyweight graphic designer, Samuel Muir, on the artwork.
After a year of non-stop trial and error, SKIMDO was born.
For the campaign, I cast an extraordinary young artist called Twigs, and hired photographer Sophia Schorr-Kon to shoot the models' portraits in Brighton, and organically launched the product at Foster London, in Shoreditch. This phenomenal adventure has lead to the ultimate styling product of my dreams, and has allowed me to be myself and share that confidence and pride with others.
I hope you get to experience your best self, using SKIMDO Original Cream. It's a labour of love and I aim to bring more innovative and safe products to your beauty shelves in the near future.
Thanks for reading.
K i m "
Still a relative new kid on the block, SKIMDO has gained cult status amongst stylists and influencers who use it, including FKA Twigs, Aluna Francis, Ella Eyre, Skinny Girl Diet, Neneh Cherry, Lianne La Havas, EVE, Hollie Cook, Eliza Doolittle and Margot Bowman.